A Brief Introduction to the Process of Historic Property Designation

A designated historic property is a special recognition of a building, structure, or landscape of historical or cultural significance. The specific process for nominating a historic property for designation can vary depending on the state, or local city requirements— if you’re looking for a place to start, it might be wise to consider bringing in one of the top historic preservation consulting firms in your area.

Identification and Evaluation

The process begins with the identification of a potential historic property and does not require any special knowledge or qualifications to do so. Any individual, organization, or government agency can identify a property that they feel may have historic significance.

Once a property has been identified, it can then be evaluated for its historical, architectural, or cultural significance. Some states and cities may require the final evaluation to be completed by an Architectural Historian as qualified by the United States Secretary of the Interior.


To officialize a designated historic property, it must be nominated for inclusion in a historic register. This can include being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the California state register of Historic Landmarks, or local historic registers, depending on the context of the historic significance.

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Review and Approval

The nomination is reviewed by a relevant historic preservation authority or commission which often consists of historians, architects, and community members with expertise in historic preservation. They are tasked with assessing whether the nominated property meets the established criteria for designation. This assessment may include research and public hearings.


If the property has been determined to meet the criteria it is officially designated as a historic property. This designation can vary in scope and may apply to the entire property or specific features of it such as the exterior or interior, gardens or landscape, architectural features such as a sign or a bell, or even ancillary structures or statues and murals.

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Historia Design & Consulting can consult with property owners and interested parties to understand the exact requirements and benefits associated with historic property designation in their area, as well as provide all the necessary services including the required research and documentation for national, state and local historic register nominations.

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